“Rejoice!” says the Apostle Paul in Philippians 4:4. But what is there to rejoice about? Terrorism rises among us. Fascism and Socialism threaten our politics. We have failed to protect the preborn. So tell me, what is there to rejoice about?
The prophet Zephaniah would feel right at home in our age. He watched as the kings of Judah abandoned God. They set up idols in the temple, practiced sorcery in its courtyards, and even burned their own children in pagan worship. What was there to rejoice about?
“Rejoice in the Lord always . . . The Lord is at hand!” (Philippians 4:4-5, ESV)
Paul said, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your [patience] be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand!” (Philippians 4:4-5, ESV). Zephaniah had said “Rejoice and exult with all your heart! . . . The Lord has taken away the judgements against you; he has cleared away your enemies. The King of Israel, the Lord is in your midst; you shall never again fear evil. On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: Fear not! . . . Behold, at that time I will deal with all your oppressors.”
So, really, what is there to rejoice about? Nothing here, that’s for sure. But the day is coming (soon!) when Christ will return in glory to clear away our enemies and dwell with us forever. That’s not wishful thinking. It is a terrifying, joyful reality.
Let’s be done with fantasy and let’s demand truth. Let’s proclaim truth!
Oh Christians! Just deal with realities! Stop acting as if the advent (coming) of our Lord is a pleasant fairytale. Stop telling the Christmas story as if it were a sentimental fantasy about a big elf in a sleigh. All children grow up. Sooner or later, they will realize that there is no Santa Claus. Let’s be done with fantasy and let’s demand truth. Let’s proclaim truth!
The Lord is at hand! On that day—on the final day—He will return and remove all fear because He will destroy everything that causes fear. The blind will again receive their sight, the lame will walk, the lepers will be cleansed, the deaf will hear, and the dead will be raised up. Just as they did in the days of Jesus’ first advent (Luke 7:22).
All will be restored, all will be resurrected, all will be redeemed.
Oh Christians! Just deal with realities! Do not let your hands grow weak (Zephaniah 3:16). Don’t give up. Do not opt out. Do not retreat. Why? Because you have nothing to fear, because you have nothing to lose. All will be restored, all will be resurrected, all will be redeemed.
You, dear Christian, are the most dangerous person alive, because you have nothing to lose. Hate should fear you. Tyranny should fear you. Death should fear you. All the enemies of God should fear you! Because, on that day, He will pour out His wrath and clear away our enemies. Only wait patiently for Him, and let your gentleness be known to everyone. (Zephaniah 3:8; 15. Philippians 4:5 *).
* Please note that in my quoting of Philippians 4:5 I have chosen to vary the translation slightly. The ESV reads: “Let your reasonableness be known to everyone…” I have used the words, “patience” and “gentleness” instead of “reasonableness” to emphasize how we Christians ought to express the moderate “reasonable” attitude made possible by our certain hope of Christ’s return. Christian militancy is quite different from Islamic jihad. We have no need to force conversions, or to destroy the infidel. We destroy “arguments and lofty opinions” not people (2 Cor. 10:5). See The Blue Letter Bible’s lexical entry on this word.